alternatives to neonatal autopsy, evaluation of neonatal death, neonatal autopsy, neonatal clinicians, neonatal healthcare providers, neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP), neonatologist, neonatology, limited neonatal autopsy, metabolic causes of neonatal death, recommendation/standards for evaluation of neonatal death



  1. Putman, Margaret A. RNC, MS, NNP


Clinicians are called upon to participate in a variety of clinical scenarios in which babies will die. A number of factors have caused the most appropriate method of evaluating cause(s) of death, namely autopsy, to fall to record low numbers during the past decade. Because of obligations unique to the stillborn fetus, dead or dying infant or child, and family and siblings, it is important for clinicians to understand the importance and utility of postmortem examination. Postmortem examination is of multidisciplinary importance to determine the cause of death and contributing and related diagnoses. This article summarizes some of what is known about postmortem examination and provides a list of guidelines available on the Internet and in the medical literature for the systematic assessment of perinatal death and the provision of appropriate testing. Clinicians are encouraged to use their leadership roles to improve rates of postmortem examination and to participate in research and education to improve its occurrence.